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Pensions strike: Unite and probation unions join action

Workers strike
Image caption Some workers went on strike earlier in the year to protest against pension changes

Unite has become the latest union to vote in favour of strike action on 30 November against changes to public sector pensions.

Members of the UK's largest union voted three-to-one in favour of walking out alongside members of 16 other unions.

The union described the result as "resounding". The turnout was 31%.

The unions object to government plans to make their members pay more and work longer to earn their pensions but the government said the offer was fair.

Unite members working at Mersey Tunnels, Greater Manchester Transport, Glasgow City Council, Scottish Water, West Midlands Police Authority, Northern Ireland bus services, Cardiff buses, the British Film Institute, the British Museum and South Yorkshire Police were among those backing strikes.

"Yet again public sector workers are telling the government that enough is enough," said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.

"They have endured wages cuts, rising living costs and horrific job losses, as this government forces the less well off in this country to pay for the sins of the elite. They are not prepared to stomach this attack on their pensions, too.

"On November 30, we fully expect millions of public sector workers and their supporters to show their disgust at the government's plans.

"If the government seriously wants to avert a long dispute and heal the divisions it is causing, it needs to get back round the table with some sensible plans for solving the problems it alone has caused."

'Responsibility'

The strikers will also be joined by members of the National Association of Probation Officers. The union announced on Thursday that members had voted for industrial action by more than four-to-one. The turnout was 45%.

This is the third time in its 100-year history that members of this union will take national strike action.

The government has said that its latest offer to unions - in which no-one within 10 years of retirement would have to work longer or see their pension income decrease as a result - is a generous one.

On Wednesday, Bob Neill, a Local Government and Communities minister, said the unions' action was "unnecessary and unacceptable".

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "There is a huge responsibility on both sides, even at this late stage, to stop the strike happening.

"The unions need to show that they are willing to negotiate, the government needs to show that it too is willing to negotiate."

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